After a competitive and thorough hiring process, the Port of Seattle has named Arif Ghouse as the new Chief Operating Officer for Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA). The role of COO will lead significant projects and initiatives, including Operational Readiness Activation and Transition, Art and Innovation functions, and will be working closely with all aviation departments to provide guidance and support.
Ghouse is joining SEA after eight successful years as the Airport Director of Paine Field/Snohomish County Airport (PAE) and is joining SEA during a time of historic construction and modernization. The airport is underway with a five-year, $4.3 billion capital project program called Upgrade SEA, a campaign to help passengers prepare for construction impacts from the curb to the gate. This follows the successful openings of major projects in the International Arrivals Facility and the N Concourse Expansion and Modernization.
While overseeing general aviation and managing numerous services for aviation enterprises, including Boeing, Ghouse led the launch of commercial passenger service at Paine Field in 2019. Ghouse has strong leadership experience working closely with airline carriers as well as navigating the unique operational challenges during the height of COVID.
“We are excited to welcome Ghouse back to SEA after continuing to demonstrate his team-oriented leadership and gaining valuable experience in multiple aspects of directing PAE,” said Lance Lyttle, Managing Director, SEA Airport. “Ghouse has stepped into leadership roles in the regional aviation industry that will provide key perspective and aptitude for this new role at SEA.”
While at PAE, Ghouse implemented a new all-cargo air carrier service, new Airport Rules and Regulations, a new airport management system, a new asset management system, and a new Geographic Information System. Ghouse also led the work to update the PAE Airport Master Plan (the first since 2003).
“This is an exciting opportunity for me to return to SEA and I am looking forward to supporting the great teams that deliver exceptional service to the traveling public,” said Ghouse. “My experience at PAE not only adds to my skills but also provides an additional perspective to continue SEA’s goals to work with tenants and stakeholders for the greatest benefit of the customer experience.”
Ghouse previously worked at SEA and the Port, from 2000 – 2014, spending six years leading airport security, eight years as the director of seaport security/emergency and added further operational experience in a short-term assignment as an airport duty manager.
Prior to joining the Port of Seattle in 2000, Ghouse gained mega hub airport experience during his six years in security and operations at Houston Airport System. He also brings an international perspective having lived and worked in the United Kingdom, with experience at a seven-airport system including London’s three international airports.
Ghouse has been involved with key aviation organizations including serving a three-year term on the Board of Directors and U.S. Policy Council of ACI-NA. He is a current appointee to the Washington State Commercial Aviation Coordinating Commission and Past President of the Washington Airports Management Association.
Ghouse holds a BA with honors in Business Administration and a MS in Air Transport Management from the College of Aeronautics at Cranfield Institute of Technology, England, U.K.
Ghouse will assume the COO role on February 21.